Journal article

Low-load blood flow restriction training induces similar morphological and mechanical Achilles tendon adaptations compared with high-load resistance training

  • Centner, Christoph Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • Lauber, Benedikt Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany - Department of Neurosciences and Movement Sciences, Université de Fribourg, Fribourg, Switzerland
  • Seynnes, Olivier R. Department of Physical Performance, Norwegian School of Sport Sciences, Oslo, Norway
  • Jerger, Simon Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • Sohnius, Tim Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • Gollhofer, Albert Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
  • König, Daniel Department of Sport and Sport Science, University of Freiburg, Freiburg, Germany
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    14.11.2019
Published in:
  • Journal of Applied Physiology. - 2019, vol. 127, no. 6, p. 1660–1667
English ow-load blood flow restriction (LL-BFR) training has gained increasing interest in the scientific community by demonstrating that increases in muscle mass and strength are comparable to conventional high-load (HL) resistance training. Although adaptations on the muscular level are well documented, there is little evidence on how LL-BFR training affects human myotendinous properties. Therefore, the aim of the present study was to investigate morphological and mechanical Achilles tendon adaptations after 14 wk of strength training. Fifty-five male volunteers (27.9 ± 5.1 yr) were randomly allocated into the following three groups: LL-BFR [20–35% of one-repetition maximum (1RM)], HL (70–85% 1RM), or a nonexercising control (CON) group. The LL-BFR and HL groups completed a resistance training program for 14 wk, and tendon morphology, mechanical as well as material properties, and muscle cross- sectional area (CSA) and isometric strength were assessed before and after the intervention. Both HL (+40.7%) and LL-BFR (+36.1%) training induced significant increases in tendon stiffness (P < 0.05) as well as tendon CSA (HL: +4.6%, LL-BFR: +7.8%, P < 0.001). These changes were comparable between groups without significant changes in Young’s modulus. Furthermore, gastrocnemius medialis muscle CSA and plantar flexor strength significantly increased in both training groups (P < 0.05), whereas the CON group did not show significant changes in any of the evaluated parameters. In conclusion, the adaptive change in Achilles tendon properties following low-load resistance training with partial vascular occlusion appears comparable to that evoked by high-load resistance training.NEW & NOTEWORTHY Low-load blood flow restriction (LL-BFR) training has been shown to induce beneficial adaptations at the muscular level. However, studies examining the effects on human tendon properties are rare. The findings provide first evidence that LL-BFR can increase Achilles tendon mechanical and morphological properties to a similar extent as conventional high-load resistance training. This is of particular importance for individuals who may not tolerate heavy training loads but still aim for improvements in myotendinous function.
Faculty
Faculté des sciences et de médecine
Department
Département de Médecine
Language
  • English
Classification
Sports sciences
License
License undefined
Identifiers
Persistent URL
https://folia.unifr.ch/unifr/documents/308336
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